Donovan was durable, and needed to be; due to wildness, he threw more pitches than most hurlers. While he led the NL with 25 wins for Brooklyn in 1901, he also led with 152 walks. Wild Bill starred in both major leagues, jumping to Detroit in 1903. His best season (25-4, AL-high .862 winning percentage) turned the Tigers into pennant-winners in 1907, and they repeated in 1908 and ’09. But Donovan’s results in WS starts were poor, and he won only one of five decisions.
After going 10-9 in 1911, Donovan continued his career in the minor leagues, as a pitcher, coach, and manager. He piloted the Yankees from 1915 to 1917, appearing in several games, and pitched two final games for Detroit in 1918. He also skippered the Phillies for part of 1921. He was killed in a train wreck while riding in a sleeper. As manager of his minor league team, he had claimed a lower berth. Above him slept the business manager, George Weiss, who was uninjured in the wreck, and who became a Hall of Famer as GM of the Yankees and Mets.